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Douglas A-26B 44-34374, 13th BS/3rd BG, Atsugi, Japan, late 1945
General Background
In 1941 Douglas Aircraft Company began work on their twin-engine medium-bomber A-26 Invader. By the end of production there were 2,452 aircraft produced for all variants. The A- 26/B-26 was the only U.S. bomber to take part in three wars, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. The confusion with the use of the designation B-26 began when the Martin B-26 Marauder was retired and in 1948 the USAF dropped the “A” (Attack) designator so the Douglas A-26 Invader became the B-26 Invader. The A-26 made its first European appearance in late 1944.
The Aircraft
The 13th Bomb Squadron sailed from San Francisco and reached Australia on March 10, 1942. The squadron acquired some B-25s and began training until April 6, 1942 when they were ready for combat. As time went on the 13th moved north and bombed the Philippines and Japanese shipping. In late July, early August 1945 the 13th were equipped with A-26 and shortly thereafter moved to Okinawa. After the Japanese surrender the 13th BS moved to Atsugi Japan on October 10, 1945 as part of the occupation forces. A-26 44-34374 c/n 27653 was lost on July 3, 1951 during the Korean War while on a night-mission dropping anti-personnel mine "butterfly bombs".
Specifications :
First flight: July 10, 1942
Crew: 3
Length: 50 ft 9 in
Wingspan: 70 ft 0 in
Height: 18 ft 6 in
Empty: 22,370 lbs
Maximum take-off: 35,000 lbs
Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-79 radial piston each producing 2,000 hp
Maximum speed @ 15,000 ft: 355 mph
Ceiling: 22,100 ft
Range: 1,400 miles
Armament: 6 x 12.7 mm (0.5 in) machine guns in nose
2 x 12.7 mm (0.5 in) machine guns in ventral turret
2 x 12.7 mm (0.5 in) machine guns in dorsal turret
6,000 lbs of bombs
8 x 127 mm (5-inch) rockets